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Tewksbury firefighter is new T-N chief

TILTON-NORTHFIELD — The Board of Fire Commissioners yesterday announced the appointment of Michael W. Sitar, Jr., a 32-year veteran of the Fire Department in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, as chief.

Sitar succeeds Brad Ober, who resigned last year to become deputy chief of the Gilford Fire Department. Sitar will take the oath of office at a ceremony at noon on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Center Street Station in Tilton. The public is invited to attend.

Commissioner Pat Clark said that Sitar, who hails from a family of firefighters, was chosen from a field of more than 20 candidates.

The search committee, chaired by Jim Clements, the chief executive officer of the Spaulding Youth Center, included Scott Davis a commissioner of the Tiulton-Northfield Water Company, Kevin LaChapelle, the Franklin Fire Chief, Steven Bluhm, a Northfield Selectman, Joie Jesseman, a Tilton Selectman, and Joyce Fulweiler, a Northfield resident and the Tilton town administrator. Clark said that the Search Committee and Fire Commission short-listed the same candidates.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:50

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Laconia man 'bundles' several drug charges into one guilty pleas

LACONIA — A 23-year-old Laconia man was sentenced Monday to at least 1 1/2 years in the New Hampshire State Prison for multiple counts of drug possession and assaulting a police officer.

Joseph Morrissette pleaded guilty in the Belknap County Superior Court to one charge for possession of marijuana on April 18, 2013; one count of possession of cocaine on September 24, 2013; and count of resisting arrest and simple assault on September 24, 2013. A separate charge of possession of heroin in March of 2013 was not prosecuted.

He also pleaded guilty to one count of sales of heroin on July 24, 2013.

After his release from prison, Morrissette will be on parole for an additional year and probation after that.

In addition and as part of a "global resolution" or a situation where multiple charges for different offenses are lumped together for a single disposition, Morrissette received a 3 1/2  to seven-year suspended sentence for the charge of possession of cocaine as well as a two- to five-year suspended for the assault on the police officer.

The two suspended sentences are to be served consecutively, which means that should Morrissette re-offend after his release he could face an additional 5 1/2-to-12 years in prison.

He was credited with 117 days of pretrial confinement.

Morrissette was in court Monday for jury selection for a single count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute it. The other three cases were working their way through superior court.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:48

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Article calling for placement of modular classroom on Gilmanton School campus remains on warrant

GILMANTON — Voters at Saturday's deliberative session of annual Town Meeting had a lot of things to say about adding a temporary two-room modular building to the Gilmanton School campus but the $133,661 warrant article that calls for a $95,448 expenditure next school year will go a March 11 vote as presented. The balance of $38,213 would be spent over four subsequent school years.

The article calls for the 5-year lease/purchase of a used modular that will cost $26,732 annually. An additional $68,716 was added to the amount to be raised and appropriated this year for installation and hookup.

The Gilmanton School Board supports the article while the Budget Committee does not.

Budget Committee Chair Brian Forst said the vote against supporting the modular was not unanimous. He said that committee members recognized the need for additional space, however he said they wanted to see multiple options presented instead of just one calling for the modular unit.

Forst added that there were some concerns about a lease-to-buy contract for a used, albeit reconditioned, building.

Superintendent Jahn Fauci said yesterday the modular is completely reconditioned and a corridor will be built as a connector from the main school to it.

School Board minutes from January say the modular comes with white boards and other school-related fixtures but will need to be furnished and hooked up to utilities. The district estimates it will use about $3,000 annually in electricity and heat.

The modular has no bathrooms. While the exact plan for its use is not complete because it has not yet been approved by voters, minutes suggest one room will be used for administration and the other room will be used for a classroom for older students.

As of January, Gilmanton School has 403 students — up from the 398 reflected in the December minutes.

The smallest classes are in fourth, fifth and sixth grades while the largest classes are kindergarten at 51, first grade at 48, and 50 in second grade.

The population of Gilmanton, according to the 2010 census was 3,777 people — up 717 from the 3,060 recorded in 2000 or 23-percent — suggesting the town is one of the fastest growing communities in the Lakes Region.

School administrators told the Budget Committee in January that in this school year, two teachers have been moved to "rolling" classrooms — meaning they do not have classrooms of their own but must use a cart to bring their teaching materials to the students.

As to the future, Forst said he will be serving as the Budget Committee representative to the recently formed Space Needs Committee that is comprised of members of the community, two school board members, school administrators, two teachers, two parents, and a member of the Planning Board. It is tasked with performing a historical evaluation of the population of the district as it relates to the school system and incorporating demographic studies to help administrators develop a long-range plan for Gilmanton School.

"We need to start long-term planning now," said Forst yesterday. He noted that in 10 years the contract for sending high school students to Gilford expires and while 10 years seems like a long time — it's not when it comes to planning for education infrastructure.

Next year's budget, said Fauci, factors in 163 Gilmanton students who will attend Gilford High School at a cost of $17,425 each. He said dollar amount per student is about the same as it was last year and down almost $1,000 per student from the initial budget planning figures given to Gilmanton by Gilford. This school year there are 140 students from Gilmanton.

He said the budget was reduced by about $170,000 meaning the final proposed budget for school year 2014-2015 of $9.6 million is up about $5,000 from the current year's budget.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:44

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30-year-old visitor found dead in Laconia apartment; drug overdose suspected

LACONIA — Police confirmed yesterday that they are investigating a possible fatal drug overdose that was reported to them at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Capt. Matt Canfield said the victim was a 30-year-old male from Massachusetts who he declined to identify other than to say he was visiting at a Union Avenue apartment.

He said the investigation into what could be the second fatal drug overdose in as many weeks in the area continues. No further details could be released yesterday.

Local police are dealing with a recent spike in the use of heroin and opiates in the Lakes Region. In the past two weeks Belmont has seen two overdoses — a fatal one and one that was nearly fatal.

Canfield said an autopsy will be performed and toxicology results will be sent to the state lab determine the exact cause of death.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 12:40

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